Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Saudi student departure would cost Okanagan College $850,000

Saudi student departure would cost Okanagan College $850,000

The latest retaliatory move came after Canada's ministry of foreign affairs raised concerns about the arrest of women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi (pictured main), sister of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi.

Harbash added that they are capable of transferring all Saudi students from Canada to countries with cultural missions in the US, UK, New Zealand and Australia, all of which are considered countries with top education institutions, and have good relations with Saudi Arabia.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday the Canadian government will continue to raise its voice and defend human rights.

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesPolitical activist Samar Badawi was presented with an International Women of Courage Award by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former first lady Michelle Obama in 2012.

Saudi government officials also froze new trade deals with Canada and said Canadians were interfering in their domestic affairs. Riyadh accused Ottawa on Tuesday of interfering in its internal affairs. In little more than a year, the kingdom has led a four-country coalition that severed ties with neighbouring Qatar, recalled its ambassador to Germany and cut back its trade dealings with some German companies amid a diplomatic row.

Guido Steinberg, a Middle East expert at the German Institute for worldwide and Security Affairs, believes there are two reasons why Saudi Arabia has reacted so harshly to the statements from the Canadian Foreign Ministry.

Tensions between Canada and Saudi Arabia continued into Tuesday, with the Saudis announcing they are cutting all purchases of Canadian wheat and barley.

However, despite the potential impact of his government's foreign policy on local schools and students studying in Okanagan, Fuhr said he stands behind Canada's foreign affairs minister.

"Saudi Arabia is shooting itself in the foot".


The dispute appears centred around tweets by Canadian diplomats calling on the kingdom to "immediately release" detained women's rights activists. His wife, Ensaf Haidar, lives in Canada and received Canadian citizenship in July.

Saudi state airline Saudia said it was suspending flights to and from Toronto, Canada's largest city.

Riyadh on Sunday recalled its ambassador from Canada and gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave.

In response, the Saudi government has expelled Canada's ambassador from the country and frozen all new trade with Canada. "We will always speak up for human rights and women's rights". Another five Saudi students were expected to start this September.

Canada responded by saying it "seriously concerned" by the escalation, but vowed to continue to "stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world".

In a tweet, Bessma Momani (expert on Middle East issues and a political science professor at the University of Waterloo) responded to this move, stating that this is bad and unjust for students who will now be scrambling to figure out what to do with their lives.

Armored tanks and personnel carriers have been Canada's biggest recent export to the kingdom.

But Riyadh's singling out of Canada is aimed at strongly discouraging other critical Western governments from speaking out, observers say.

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